Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 22:4-5
AC 9138. Verses 4, 5. When a man shall desolate a field, or a vineyard, and shall let his beast go in, and it shall desolate in the field of another; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, he shall repay. When a fire shall go forth, and shall catch hold of thorns, and a stack is consumed, or the standing crop, or a field; he that kindleth the fire, repaying shall repay. "When a man shall desolate a field, or a vine yard," signifies the deprivation of the good and the truth of the church through cupidities; "and shall let his beast go in," signifies if he does this with but little knowledge; "and it shall desolate in the field of another," signifies the consuming of the cohering goods; "of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, he shall repay," signifies restoration from goods and truths still unimpaired; "when a fire shall go forth," signifies anger from the affection of evil; "and shall catch hold of thorns," signifies which betakes itself into falsities; "and a stack is consumed," signifies injury to the goods and truths of faith that have been received; "or the standing crop, or a field," signifies also to the goods and truths of faith in their conception; "he that kindleth the fire repaying shall repay," signifies the restoration of what was taken away through anger from the affection of evil.
AC 9139. When a man shall desolate a field, or a vineyard. That this signifies the deprivation of the good and the truth of the church through cupidities, is evident from the signification of "to desolate," as being to deprive through cupidities (n. 9141); from the signification of "a field," as being the church as to good (n. 2791, 3766, 4982, 7502), thus the good of the church; and from the signification of "a vineyard," as being the church as to truth, thus the truth of the church. That "a field" denotes the church as to good, is because the things of a field, such as wheat and barley, signify internal and external goods of the church (n. 3941, 7602, 7605); and that "a vineyard" denotes the church as to truth, is because "wine," which belongs to a vineyard, signifies the truth of good (n. 1071, 6377).
 That "field" and "vineyard" have this signification has its origin from the representatives in the spiritual world. For fields full of wheat and barley appear before spirits when the angels in a heaven above them are conversing about an assemblage of those who are in good; and there appear vineyards full of grapes, with winepresses, when the angels are conversing about an assemblage of those who are in the truth of good. These representatives are not from the fact that there are such things upon earth; but from the correspondences, in that wheat and barley, or the bread made therefrom, nourish the body, as the good of love and of charity nourishes the soul; and in that wine, as drink, acts in like manner. From this it is that in the Word the goods of love and the truths of faith are called "meats and drinks;" in this sense also they are heavenly meats and drinks (n. 56-58, 680, 681, 1973, 1974, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562).
 That a "vineyard" denotes the church as to the good and the truth of faith, which church is called the spiritual church, is evident from the passages in the Word where a "vineyard" is mentioned; as in Jeremiah:--
Many shepherds have destroyed My vineyard, they have trodden under foot My field, they have made My field of desire into a desert of solitude; he has made it (the vineyard) into a solitude (Jer. 12:10, 11);
where "vineyard" and "field" manifestly denote the church; and as the church is the church from the truth and good of faith and of charity, it is clear that the "vineyard" here denotes the church as to truth, and the "field," the church as to good. In Isaiah:--
Jehovah cometh into judgment with the elders of His people, and the princes thereof; ye have set on fire the vineyard (Isa. 3:14);
here also "the vineyard" plainly denotes the church in respect to the good and truth of faith; for "the elders with whom Jehovah will come into judgment," denote the goods of the church (n. 6524, 6525); and "the princes," its truths (n. 5044).
I will sing to my beloved a song of my friend touching his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard in a horn of the son of oil; and he enclosed it, and planted it with a noble vine (Isa. 5:1, 2);
this is said of the Lord, who is the "beloved" and the "friend;" the "vineyard" denotes His spiritual church; a "noble vine" denotes the good of faith of this church; and a "horn of the son of oil," the good of the faith of that church from the good of love. He who knows nothing of the internal sense of the Word, cannot possibly know what is signified by "a vineyard in a horn of the son of oil." Yet in these words there lies hidden a secret that cannot be expressed in words. By these words is fully described the conjunction of the Lord‘s spiritual kingdom with His celestial kingdom; that is, the conjunction of the second heaven with the third; consequently the conjunction of the good of faith in the Lord, which is of the spiritual kingdom, with the good of love to the Lord, which is of the celestial kingdom. The "vineyard" denotes the spiritual kingdom; "in a horn" denotes in power, thus in this kingdom; and "the son of oil" denotes the external good of love of the celestial kingdom. The celestial kingdom, which is the inmost heaven of the Lord, is called an "olive-tree" or an "olive-yard," because "oil" denotes the good of celestial love (n. 886, 4582, 4638). Be it known that the kingdom of the Lord on earth is the church. That there are two kingdoms, the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom, and that the spiritual kingdom constitutes the second heaven, and the celestial kingdom the third heaven, (n. 3887, 4138, 4279, 4286); of the conjunction of these, (n. 6435).
In that day a vineyard of pure wine, answer ye to it; I Jehovah do keep it; I will water it every moment (Isa. 27:2, 3);
where "a vineyard of pure wine (merum)" denotes the spiritual church. In Amos:--
In all vineyards shall be wailing; I will pass through thee. Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! what to you is the day of Jehovah? it is of darkness and not of light (Amos 5:17, 18);
this is said of the last time of the church, when there is no longer any good and truth of faith, which time is "the day of Jehovah, a day of darkness and not of light;" whence it is said, "in all vineyards shall be wailing." In John in the Apocalypse:--
The angel put forth his sickle into the earth, and vintaged the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God (Rev. 14:19);
"to vintage the vine of the earth" denotes to consume the truth and good of the church; "the earth" here being the church. From all this it can be seen why the Lord so often likened the kingdom of the heavens to a "vineyard" (Matt. 20:1-16; 21:28, 29, 33-41; Mark 12:1-12); and why the Lord called Himself "the vine," in John:--
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. Without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:4-6);
"the vine" denotes faith in the Lord, consequently the Lord as to faith; for the Lord is faith, because faith is from Him; for no faith is faith save that which is from Him. Hence also "the vine" denotes the faith which is directed to Him.
AC 9140. And shall let his beast go in. That this signifies if he does this with but little consciousness, is evident from the signification of a "beast of burden," as being bodily pleasure, or appetite. That it signifies with but little consciousness, is because when a man is in these cupidities, he consults reason but little, and thus has but little consciousness of what he is doing. All beasts, of whatsoever genus and species, signify affections; gentle and useful beasts, good affections; and fierce and useless beasts, evil affections (n. 45, 46, 142, 143, 714-719, 1823, 2180, 2781, 3218, 3519, 5198, 7523, 7872, 9090). When a beast is called a "beast of burden" it signifies mere bodily affections which have in them but little reason; for the more a man acts from the body, the less he acts from reason, the body being in the world, thus remote from heaven, where genuine reason is. Moreover in the original tongue a "beast of burden" is so called from its brutishness and stupidity, thus from its little consciousness; as in (Isa. 19:11; Ps. 49:10; 73:22; Jer. 51:17).
AC 9141. And it shall desolate in the field of another. That this signifies the consuming of the cohering goods, is evident from the signification of "to desolate," as being to deprive through cupidities, thus to consume; and from the signification of "in the field of another," as being the cohering goods; for "a field" denotes the church, and the things in a field denote goods (n. 9139); thus those which are "in the field of another," denote the adjacent goods which cohere; for the goods with man are like generations on the earth, and consequently are in various degrees of nearness and coherence (n. 9079). Those which are not in the same house, or together in the same family, but yet are related, are what are meant by being "in the field of another."
 That "to desolate" denotes to deprive through cupidities, and thus to consume, is because by the word which is used in the original tongue for "to desolate" is properly signified to set on fire and burn, thus also to feed on and consume. And as this is the derivation of the word, "to desolate" here signifies the consuming that is done by cupidities; for the cupidities in a man are consuming fires. There is in man the fire of life, and the light of life. The fire of life is his love, and the light of life is his faith. The love of good (that is, love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor) makes the fire of life in a good man and in an angel of heaven; and the love of truth and the faith of truth make the light of life in them. But the love of evil (that is, the love of self and the love of the world) makes the fire of life in an evil man and in a spirit of hell; and the love and faith of what is false make the light of life in them. But the love of evil is called in the Word the "burning of fire," because it burns and consumes those things which belong to the love of good and truth. That the "burning of fire" has this signification, (n. 1297, 1861, 5215, 9055).
 That a consuming by cupidities is signified by this word in the original tongue, is plain from the following passages:--
Jehovah will come into judgment with the elders of His people, and the princes thereof. Ye have consumed (set fire to) the vineyard (Isa 3:14).
The breath of Jehovah, like a river of sulphur, doth consume (burn) it (Isa. 30:33);
"a river of sulphur" denotes falsities from the evils of the love of self and the love of the world (n. 2446).
 In Ezekiel:--
The Inhabitants of the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both shield and buckler, with bow and with arrows, and with handstaff and with spear, and they shall kindle a fire with them seven years, that they shall bring no wood out of the field, nor cut down any out of the forests (Ezek. 39:9, 10);
thus is described the consuming and desolating of good and truth through cupidities. But who will see this, unless he knows what is signified by "the inhabitants of the cities of Israel," also what by "weapons," "shield," "buckler," "bow with arrows," by "handstaff and spear," by "seven years," and by "wood out of the field, and out of the forests." That "inhabitants" denote goods, (n. 2268, 2451, 2463, 2712); that "cities" denote truths, and consequently doctrinal things from the Word, (n. 2268, 2449, 2943, 3216, 4492); and that "Israel" denotes the church, (n. 4286, 6426), 6637). Consequently "the inhabitants of the cities of Israel" denote the goods of the doctrinal things of the church; and in the opposite sense, these goods turned into evils and falsities. That "shield," "buckler," and "arrows of the bow" denote truths of doctrine from the Word, whereby there is protection from the falsities of evil, (n. 2686, 2709, 6421); that a "handstaff" denotes the power of truth from good, (n. 4876, 7026); in like manner a "spear," but interior power; that "seven years" denote a full state, thus to the full, (n. 6508, 8976); thus "to kindle a fire for seven years" denotes to consume to the full through cupidities; "wood out of the field" denotes the interior goods of the church, (n. 3720, 8354); "field" being the church, (n. 2971, 3766, 7502, 7571); and "wood out of the forests," exterior goods, (n. 3220, 9011). When these things are known it may be known that by the above prophecies is described the consuming of all things of the church through cupidities until nothing of the good and truth of the internal and external church remains, which is signified by "they shall kindle a fire for seven years, so that they shall bring no wood out of the field, nor cut down any out of the forests."
 By the same expression is also described the consuming of the good and truth of the church, in Malachi:--
Behold the day cometh, burning as an oven, wherein all that sin proudly, and every worker of wickedness, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall consume (kindle) them, said Jehovah Zebaoth, which shall leave them neither root nor branch (Mal. 4:1);
"the day that cometh" denotes the last time of the church, when the loves of self and of the world shall reign, and shall consume all the truths and goods of the church, until nothing survives in the man’s internal and external, which is signified by "shall leave them neither root nor branch." The "root" of good and truth is in man‘s internal, and the "branch" is in his external. From this then it is evident that "to desolate" signifies to consume through cupidities, as is the case elsewhere in the Word.
AC 9142. Of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, he shall repay. That this signifies restoration from goods and truths still unimpaired, is evident from the signification of "field," as being the good of the church; from the signification of "vineyard," as being the truth of the church (n. 9139); that is called "the best" which after the consuming is still unimpaired; and from the signification of "repaying," as being restoration (n. 9087).
AC 9143. When a fire shall go forth. That this signifies anger from the affection of evil, is evident from the signification of "fire," as being love, here the love of evil and its affection (n. 9141). It is said "the affection" of evil, because by affection is meant what is continuous of love. That "fire" denotes anger from the affection of evil, is because anger is from this source, for when that which a man loves is assailed, a fieriness bursts forth and as it were burns. Hence it is that anger is described in the Word by "fire," and it is said "to burn;" as in the following passages:--
There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth; coals did burn from Him (Ps. 18:8).
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, for His anger will burn shortly (Ps. 2:12).
Who shall abide for us with the devouring fire? who shall abide for us on the hearths of eternity? (Isa. 33:14).
He poured upon him the wrath of His anger; it set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart (Isa. 42:25).
Behold, Jehovah will come in fire, and His chariots like the whirlwind; to recompense them in the wrath of His anger, and His rebuke in flames of fire (Isa. 66:15).
I looked back, and came down from the mount, when the mount was burning with fire. I was afraid by reason of the anger and wrath wherewith Jehovah was angry against us (Deut. 9:16, 19).
In these and many other passages anger is described by "fire." The anger is attributed to Jehovah, that is, to the Lord, but it is in man (n. 5798, 6997, 8282, 8483). That the Lord appeared on Mount Sinai to the Israelitish people in accordance with their nature; thus in fire, smoke, and thick darkness, (n. 6832). But be it known that anger is a fire that breaks forth from the affection of evil; while zeal is a fire that breaks forth from the affection of good (n. 4164, 4444, 8598). Therefore zeal also is described by "fire," as in these passages:--
Jehovah thy God is a devouring fire, a zealous God (Deut. 4:24).
I will pour upon them all the wrath of Mine anger; for all the earth shall be devoured in the fire of My zeal (Zeph. 3:8).
That the zeal of Jehovah is love and mercy, and that it is called "anger" because it so appears to the wicked when they incur the penalty of their evil, (n. 8875).
AC 9144. And shall catch hold of thorns. That this signifies which betakes itself into falsities, is evident from the signification of "to catch hold of," when said of the anger which arises from the affection of evil, as being to betake itself, and thus to kindle; and from the signification of "thorns," as being falsities. Something shall first be said to show how the case herein is. The loves in a man are the fires of his life (n. 9055). Evil loves, which are the loves of self and of the world, are consuming fires, for they consume the goods and truths which belong to the life itself. These fires make the life of man’s will, and the light from these fires makes the life of his understanding. So long as the fires of evil are kept shut up in the will, the understanding is in light, and consequently is able to perceive good and truth. But when these fires pour forth their light into the understanding, then the former light is dissipated, and the man is darkened in respect to the perception of good and truth, and this the more in proportion as the loves of self and of the world, which are these fires, receive increase; until finally these loves stifle and extinguish all truth, together with all good.
 When these loves are assailed, then fire from the will breaks forth into the understanding, and kindles a flame there. This flame is what is called "anger." Hence it is that when he is angry, a man is said to "become heated," to "take fire," and to be "inflamed." This flame assails the truths and the goods that are in the understanding, and not only hides, but also consumes them; and (this is a secret) when this evil fire breaks forth from the will into the understanding, the latter is closed above and opened below; that is, is closed where it looks toward heaven, and is opened where it looks toward hell. From this it is that when an evil man takes fire with anger, evils and falsities flow in, which kindle into Same. The case herein is like that of a fiber in the body, which, if touched with the point of a needle, instantly contracts and closes itself, and thus prevents the injury from penetrating further, and attacking the life in its first principles. Moreover when falsity is presented to the sight, it has the appearance of being sharp-pointed.
 The state of an evil man when angered, resembles that of smoke, which, when fire is applied to it, kindles into flame; for the falsity of evil in the understanding is like smoke; and anger is like the flame of the ignited smoke. There is also a correspondence between them, and therefore in the Word "smoke" denotes what is false; and its "flame" denotes anger; as in David:--
There went up smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth; coals did burn in Him (Ps. 18:8).
And in Isaiah:--
Wickedness burneth as the fire, it devoureth the briers and thorns, and kindleth the thickets of the forest, and they mount up as the rising of smoke, in the wrath of Jehovah Zebaoth (Isa. 9:18, 19);
where" smoke" denotes falsity, from the "kindling" of which there arises anger. "Smoke" denotes falsity, (n. 1861).
 From all this it is now clear what is signified in the internal sense by "when fire shall go forth, and shall catch hold of thorns, and a stack is consumed, or the standing crop," namely, that if the affection of evil breaks forth into anger, and betakes itself into the falsities of concupiscences, and consumes the truths and goods of faith. Every thinking person can see that there is some reason for this law which lies hidden within and does not appear; for nowhere has a law been enacted about fire catching hold of thorns, and thereby consuming a stack, or the standing crop; because such a thing very rarely happens; whereas it is of daily occurrence that the fire of wickedness and anger lays hold of and sets on fire the falsities of concupiscences, and thus consumes the truths and goods of the church.
 That "thorns" denote the falsities of concupiscences, is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:--
Upon the land of My people cometh up thorn and brier (Isa. 32:13);
"the land" denotes the church; "the thorn and brier" denote falsities, and the consequent evils. Again:--
As for your spirit, a fire shall consume you, so the peoples shall be burned into lime, as thorns cut down that are kindled with fire (Isa. 33:11, 12);
the "thorns that are kindled with fire" denote falsities which break into Same, and consume truths and goods.
 In Ezekiel:--
There shall be no more a pricking brier to the house of Israel, nor a thorn causing grief (Ezek. 28:24);
"a pricking brier" denotes falsity of the concupiscences of the love of self; "a thorn," falsity of the concupiscences of the love of the world. In Hosea:--
Your mother hath played the harlot; therefore I hedge up thy way with thorns, and she shall not find her paths (Hosea 2:5, 6);
"ways" and "paths" denote truths; and "thorns," falsities in place of truths.
The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed; the thistle and the thorn shall come up on their altars (Hosea 10:8);
"the thistle and the thorn" denote evil and falsity that lay waste the goods and truths of worship. In David:--
They compassed me about like bees; they go out like a fire of thorns (Ps. 118:12);
"a fire of thorns" denotes the concupiscence of evil. In Matthew:--
By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (Matt. 7:16);
"gathering grapes of thorns" denotes deriving the goods of faith and of charity from the falsities of concupiscences. "Grapes" denote these goods, (n. 1071, 5117, 6378).
 In Mark:--
Other seed fell among thorns, but the thorns came up, and choked it, that it yielded no fruit. They that are sown among the thorns, are they that hear the word; but the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the concupiscences of other things entering In, choke the word, so that it becometh unfruitful (Mark 4:7, 18, 19);
here there is explained what is meant by being "sown among thorns," thus what by "thorns." The same is signified by "sowing among thorns," and "reaping thorns," in Jeremiah:--
Thus said Jehovah to the man of Judah, and to Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns (Jer. 4:3).
They have sown wheat, and have reaped thorns (Jer. 12:13).
 The falsities of concupiscences, which are signified by "thorns," are falsities which confirm those things which are of the world and its pleasures, for more than all other falsities these take fire and blaze up, because they are from those concupiscences in the body which are felt; wherefore also they close the internal man, so that there is no appreciation of that which concerns the salvation of the soul, and eternal life.
They put a crown plaited of thorns upon the Lord‘s head when He was crucified, and that then He was hailed King of the Jews, and said, Behold the Man (John 19:2, 3, 5),
represented the condition of the Divine Word at that time in the Jewish church; namely, that it was stifled by the falsities of concupiscences. The "King of the Jews," as He was then hailed by them, signified truth Divine. By a "king" in the Word is signified truth from the Divine, (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148); and that the like is signified by "the Anointed," which in the Hebrew idiom is "the Messiah," and in the Greek "the Christ," (n. 3004, 3008, 3009, 3732). By "Judah" in the supreme sense is meant the Lord as to Divine good, and in the internal sense as to the Word, and thus as to doctrine from the Word (n. 3881); and that when such a crown was upon His head the Lord said "Behold the Man," signified, Behold the Divine truth such as it now is in the church. For the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord in heaven is a Man; consequently heaven is the Grand Man, and this by influx and by correspondence, as has been shown at the end of many chapters (n. 1871, 1276, 2996, 2998, 3624-3649, 3741-3750, 7396, 8547, 8988). From this also the Lord’s celestial church was called "Man" (n. 478, 479), this church being that which the Jews represented (n. 6363, 6364, 8770). From this it is evident what was signified by the "crown of thorns," and by His being hailed "King of the Jews," by "behold the Man," and also by the inscription on the cross, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews" (John 19:19, 20); namely, that Divine truth, or the Word, was so regarded and so treated by the Jews, among whom was the church. That all things done to the Lord by the Jews at His crucifixion signified the states of their church with respect to truth Divine, or the Word, (n. 9093). That the Lord was the Word, is evident in John:--
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt in us, and we beheld His glory (John 1:1, 14);
"the Word" denotes the Divine truth.
AC 9145. And a stack is consumed. That this signifies injury to the truths and the goods of faith that have been received, is evident from the signification of "a stack," as being the truth and good of faith that have been received. That "a stack" has this signification, is because it was the standing crop now gathered in, and by "standing crop" is signified the truth and good of faith in their conception, of which in what now follows.
AC 9146. Or the standing crop, or a field. That this signifies the truth and the good of faith in their conception, is evident from the signification of "standing crop," as being the truth of faith; and from the signification of "field," as being the church in respect to good, thus the good of the church (n. 9139). That "standing crop" denotes the truth of faith, is because the different kinds of crop, as wheat and barley, and the bread from these, signify the goods of the church (n. 3941, 7602). The goods of the church are those of charity toward the neighbor and of love to the Lord. These goods are the being and the soul of faith, for by virtue of them faith is faith, and lives. That "standing crop" denotes the truth of faith in its conception, is because it has not yet been gathered into stacks, nor brought into barns; and therefore while it is standing, or is as yet growing, it denotes the truth of faith in its conception.
 The like is signified by "standing crop" in Hosea:--
They (Israel) have made a king, and not by Me; they have made princes, and I knew it not; their silver and their gold they have made into idols. Because they sow the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind; he hath no standing crop; the blade shall yield no meal; if so be it yield, strangers shall swallow it up (Hosea 8:4, 7);
the truths and goods of the faith of the church are here treated of, which are dispersed by things empty and false. That these things are treated of, is evident from the series; but what is said of them is evident from the internal sense; for in this sense by "a king" is meant the truth of the faith of the church in the complex (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148); by "princes" are signified primary truths (n. 1482, 2089, 5044); and from this it is evident what is meant by "they (Israel) have made a king, and not by Me; they have made princes, and I knew it not;" for "Israel" denotes the church (n. 4286, 6426, 6637). By "silver" is here signified the truth of good, and in the opposite sense the falsity of evil (n. 1551, 2954, 5658, 6112, 6914, 6917, 8932); by "gold" is signified good, and in the opposite sense evil (n. 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 8932); by "idols" is signified worship from falsities and evils (n. 8941); and from this it is evident what is signified by "their silver and their gold they have made into idols." By "the wind which they sow" are signified worthless things; by "the whirlwind which they shall reap" is signified the resulting disturbance in the church; by "the standing crop which they have not" is signified the truth of faith in its conception; by "the blade which shall yield no meal" is signified barrenness; by "the strangers who shall swallow it up" are signified the falsities which shall consume.
AC 9147. He that kindleth the fire repaying shall repay. That this signifies the restoration of what was taken away through anger from the affection of evil, is evident from the signification of "repaying," as being restoration (n. 9087); from the signification of a "fire that goeth forth," as being anger from the affection of evil (n. 9143); consequently "to kindle" denotes the taking away or consuming thereby; and that which is kindled denotes that which is taken away or consumed. EXODUS 22:4-5 previous - next - text - summary - Exodus - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|